Subota, 20 srpnja, 2024

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Iddo Netanyahu, younger brother of the Israeli Prime Minister, talks about the war against Israel and the cultural dominance of the Left –

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Iddo Netanyahu, the younger brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a renowned radiologist, writer, and playwright, shares his thoughts on various issues in Israel and the world.

Interviewed by: Krešimir Kobanović

In an interview with the Phoenix Magazine portal, Netanyahu discusses, among other things, the war against Israel, the cultural dominance of the Left, the deception of the peace process, and controversial judicial reforms. In his satire “Itamar K.”, he targets the left-liberal Israeli cultural scene. The book was first published in German in September last year. From March 20th to 26th, he will be on a reading tour in Germany, presenting his novel and discussing the current situation in Israel.

PM: Mr. Netanyahu, you are a doctor by profession. How did you become a writer?

– At some point during medical school, I felt that medicine alone would not be intellectually satisfying for me. So, during the year when I paused my studies (after the death of my brother Jonathan in the famous Entebbe rescue in 1976), I began writing, and I haven’t stopped since.

PM: In these dramatic times, is it a burden to carry the surname Netanyahu?

– I’m not sure “burden” is the right word for it, whether in these times or any other times. The family name has certainly become known over the years – partly because of my late father who was a renowned historian, then much more so after the death of my late brother Jonathan, and then, of course, when my brother Benjamin became politically active. But instead of being a burden, the name Netanyahu, which many in Israel highly esteem and love, is a source of pride for me. So, aside from feeling discomfort when a stranger recognizes me on the street – which happens because I myself have become known over time – I don’t feel any burden.

PM: The main character of your novel “Itamar K” doesn’t fulfill his “cinematic” dreams in Israel. It sounds like a critique of a society that denies the right to freedom of expression, freedom of speech. Is this an allegory for the situation in Israel or are the boundaries much broader?

– Freedom of expression has indeed been limited in Israel since the establishment of the state. You could say whatever you wanted – nobody would put you in jail – but if what you say doesn’t align with the political dictate of the Left, which controls various platforms of expression, and certainly if it goes against the leftist agenda, it’s very difficult to express your views or your art publicly. That’s why the protagonist of my novel can’t make a film according to his script because the script isn’t entirely “politically correct.” Although there has been some slight reduction in leftist control over expression platforms over the years, control is still firm, and true freedom of expression is still far away.

As for the West, unfortunately, it has followed in Israel’s footsteps in these matters, and in some countries, it has recently surpassed it. There are countries that have enacted or are considering enacting laws that prohibit the expression of certain views. This is dangerous because it goes against the most basic and cherished element of a truly free society, freedom of speech.

➡️ Naručite sada: Iddo Netanyahu – Itamar K. / Link: Itamar K. : Iddo Netanyahu: Bücher Iddo Netanyahu, „Itamar K.“ , Roman, 301 stranica, 22,00 €

PM: Your book also serves as a critical review of the once much stronger peace movement in Israel. Is this peace movement dead?

– They call it a “peace movement,” although what Israel got by following its agenda was the opposite of peace. Their intentions were undoubtedly to bring about peace, but wishful thinking and ignoring reality, which define their thinking, and refusing to consider the opinions of their critics, can never bring anything good. In fact, all their policy has brought was a disaster.

The Israeli public has realized this over time. Despite the propaganda imposed on the public by the press, people could see that what we got from the Palestinians, after following the “peace movement” program and the Oslo agreements, when we gave Arafat control over large parts of the West Bank, were suicide bombings that caused the deaths of hundreds and hundreds of innocent people. And then we saw what we got after completely withdrawing from Gaza – again, at the behest of the “peace movement” – there were thousands and thousands of rockets launched at those cities. Finally, we got the horrors of October 7th coming from Gaza. That October 7th made many of those who still followed the orders of the “peace movement” finally realize the futility of making concessions to people who want to destroy you.

Nevertheless, the “peace movement” is not dead, nor will it ever die, because there will always be those who prefer fantasy over reality. Dealing with reality, simply put, is often not easy. As for peace itself, it is far from dead. It can be achieved in the Middle East, but only through extraordinary military strength and a willingness to use it, enabling the creation of a very strong deterrent. Then there can be peace. I assume the same principles apply to other parts of the world.

PM: The proposed judicial reform has divided Israeli society. Especially in liberal Tel Aviv, Jews from all over the world protested against the planned weakening of the Supreme Court. How do you explain the strong criticism of the proposed judicial reform in Western and German media?

– I explain it by ignorance in the West and in Germany about what the reform movement in Israel actually was. All it aimed to do was bring Israel to a state similar to that in other democracies, where the judiciary does not have complete control over the legislative and executive branches of government. What has happened in Israel over the past 30 years has been a gradual usurpation of political decision-making by the judicial branch, to an extent unknown in any democracy in the world. Anything and everything political could be brought before the Supreme Court, which would then decide on various political matters, more according to its desires and values than according to the law or the opinion of the majority of the population. This is, of course, contrary to the fundamental principle of democracy, according to which the people, through their elected representatives in parliament, are the sovereign who decides on political matters, not a group of judges who actually choose their colleagues.

Since the agenda of the Israeli Supreme Court coincided with the agenda of the Israeli political left, the left wanted this abnormal holding of power by the courts to continue, thereby retaining their own control over the country, despite losses in elections. And since the Western press, mostly, is against the Israeli political right, it sided with leftist protesters, echoing their slogans and not really understanding what it’s all about.

PM: What do you think of statements like the one made by Jonathan Glazer, who won an Oscar for Best International Film and then claimed that Israel “appropriated” the Holocaust to justify the occupation of Palestinian territories?

– How to respond to such idiocy? I’m not even sure where to start. When exactly has Israel ever used the Holocaust to justify its control over parts of our ancient homeland, which Glazer calls Palestinian territories? And if he means that we compared the events of October 7th to the Holocaust,

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